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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 23:11 GMT
In quotes: reaction to Pinochet death
Chile's former military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, has died at the age of 91, a week after being taken to hospital with a heart attack.

After he came to power in 1973, he crushed his opponents in a wave of arrests and disappearances - but he always claimed to be his country's saviour.

His death has provoked strong reactions from politicians and human rights activists.

US WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN TONY FRATTO

Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile represented one of the most difficult periods in that nation's history. Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families.

We commend the people of Chile for building a society based on freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER GEOFFREY ROBERTSON

I don't think he is going to heaven, if there is a hell he is in it, which is not dissimilar to his own torture chambers. He tortured tens of thousands of people, many of them died, and he was guilty of what we term a crime against humanity.

A supporter holds an image of the late Gen Pinochet
Gen Pinochet's death will provoke divided reactions

His death, and they were indeed closing in on him, his death does rob us of a proper trial and retribution for his victims.

There is one noble thing that he did - he helped the world to work out how to put tyrants on trial. His case was the first to break sovereign immunity.

FORMER UK PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER

The former British Prime Minister has said she is "greatly saddened" by the death of Gen Pinochet. She said she would send her "deepest condolences" to his widow and family.

TORTURE VICTIM SHEILA CASSIDY

I don't think he ever thought that he'd done wrong. I mean I think that he continued to think that the people that he tortured were dirt really, and got what was coming to them.

I don't think for a minute that he had any kind of repentance. If he agreed to political responsibility, it would have been a convenient move.

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY MARGARET BECKETT

This is something that people have been foreseeing for quite a long time. I think my main reaction is that we very much welcome the progress that the Chile of today has made to being an open, stable and prosperous democracy.

What matters is that Chile is now a different country. That is the key thing.

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER SEBASTIAN BRETT

Opponents of former dictator Gen Augusto Pinochet protest outside the hospital where he died
Justice despite death? Some of Pinochet's opponents think so

Pinochet ruled for 17 years and during that time he basically resorted to just about every human rights violation in the lexicon of human rights abuse, if you want to put it like that.

Not only that, but he pioneered in South America the technique which is known as "forced disappearance" - which is when the security forces kidnap somebody and then deny their detention, secretly execute them and then conceal their fate - which has continued to this day.

VENEZUELAN VICE-PRESIDENT JOSE VICENTE RANGEL

I have respect for death and for the dead. There is a separate time for justice. All I want to say is that death sealed Pinochet's immunity.

URUGUAYAN WRITER MARIO BENEDETTI

This is the death of a dictator who showed extreme cruelty to a section of his population. In this case death has robbed us of justice.

Formal justice may remain incomplete but history judged him and condemned him.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Gen Pinochet's death should be a wake-up call for the authorities in Chile and governments everywhere, reminding them of the importance of speedy justice for human rights crimes, something Pinochet himself has now escaped.




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Views of a Pinochet victim





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